I wrote last week about how Conde Nast Traveler magazine was touting a "new age" of American travel and how it seems Americans feel more confident overseas these days, thanks in part to President Barack Obama.
But the website Gadling had a pretty good rant on the subject from Sean McLachlan on the weekend. McLachlan, who I don't know, says he often stops folks with Maple Leaf flags on their backpacks to find out where they're from.
He says that "only about half turn out to be Canadian. The other half are American. No Brits, no Aussies, no Latvians. It seems the fake Canadians all come from south of the border."
"Are they illegal immigrants coming to steal our heath care and eat all our maple syrup? No, they're pretending to be Canadians because their guidebooks have told them they'll be safer in all those scary foreign countries."
McLachlan says it's a "stupid" move but also hypocritical in that Americans love to wave their flag, but then (some, anyway, apparently) want to hide behind ours when they're on the road. The trouble with this reasoning is that Americans who may hide behind the Canadian flag while roaming the streets of Singapore or Paris likely aren't the ones who display the red, white and blue on their front porch 365 days a year. The bedrock America-right-or-wrong types don't even carry passports, I suspect.
Anyway, it's an interesting talking point, and I'd LOVE to see some reaction from south of the border.
TIGER LOOKING VULNERABLE?
It was as stunning for the big boys as it was for us golf fans.
There was Tiger Woods on the 18th hole at the Barclays Tournament on Sunday, needing to make an eight foot putt or so to force a playoff. He always makes those putts. But not this time. Instead, Heath Slocum drained a 20-footer to win, putting Tiger in the second spot.
J.J. Henry, who's in the Toronto area today with Ernie Els for a charity event at Magna Golf Club (it's to benefit the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine), says he couldn't believe it.
"I was joking with Ernie on the way up here Sunday night," Henry told me this mornng by telephone. "Ernie sees Tiger hit it to eight feet and he thinks it's over; it's time to head to the parking lot." I thought he'd knock it in the middle and give it the fist pump and that would be all she wrote."
Henry says it's giving players a bit of confidence that they might be able to take on the seemingly indestructible Woods.
"It seems he can never miss and then sure enough he does. Maybe it gives us all a little bit of hope, if you will. No doubt. No question."
Els (photo at right) wasn't about to give the perceptive Mr. Woods anything he might take the wrong way.
"He's bound to miss one and eventually he misses one. But he's won five times this year and when he hasn't won he's usually in the top five. He's phenomenal. What Y.E. Yang did to win the PGA was incredible. Eventually somebody had to beat him down the stretch. We're all human at the end of the day."
Henry says he's excited about the idea of the Olympics taking up golf for the 2016 Summer Games. The IOC's executive board has okayed the idea of adding golf and rugby sevens, but the full IOC has to vote on it in October.
"If you can't get excited about representing your country and be part of something as special as the Olympic Games, I think you're doing the wrong thing," Henry said.
"I think it would be incredible for the game and good for the Olympics, too," Els agreed. "We're very clean. No scandals. We almost police ourselves in a way. The Olympics need us as much as we need them. They might need us more than we need them."
Els said majors will still be the huge draw for players, "but the Olympics might only come around once or twice in your career."
Els turns 40 on Oct. 17 and would be nearly 47 by the time the 2016 Games come around.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY...MIAMI MAYFAIR
Keen negotiators will like the Let’s Make a Deal promotion at
GOLF CRUISE???...SIGN ME UP!
Silversea Cruises says it's again hosting its Silver Links golf program, with 12 itineraries for 2010 aboard its Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper ships.
Golf is available at 30 courses in 15 countries in the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. Among courses available are Royal Melbourne, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand, The Fairmont course in Acapulco and Royal Quebec.
Prices start at around $3,300 for a 10-day cruise. But how much fun would that be to cruise at night and play golf during the day?
For information, go to www.silversea.com
TROUBLES IN TOKYO
My son arrived at the airport in Bangkok on Sunday and was told his flight to Tokyo was cancelled because of a typhoon that's wreaking havoc on air travel in Japan. Today he was told he might not get out until Sept. 3 because so many people are trying to get their flights to Narita.
He said he's been put up at a hotel with several other Canadians who appear to be in the same situation.
I told him to smile and be nice to the folks on the ground at Bangkok Airport. In my experience, the front-line people take all the abuse when it's not their fault, so anyone who acts sympatethic and is polite usually gets better treatment. At least, I hope so.